Skin problems: Your questions answered

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 Child Acne
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The problem: 'I've got terrible skin'

I'm a 38-year-old woman with chronic acne. I've tried everything - cutting out oily foods, drinking more water, face washes and so on. What can you recommend?

Dr Chris says: I believe that any woman with acne over the age of 25 has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) until proven otherwise. Ask your GP to get you investigated. PCOS causes absent or infrequent periods, excess hair growth (especially facial), obesity, infertility and acne, so explore this option first.

The problem: 'I always get skin rashes'

Any pressure on my skin causes an itchy, lumpy, spotty rash. It spreads quickly and lasts about two hours. I have to wear loose, unflattering clothes - I'm only 21 and feel like such a frump.

Dr Chris says: This red rash indicates that you have urticaria (nettle rash or hives) with a tendency to allergic conditions and eczema. Your GP can get you tested for allergies to certain foods and food additives and may prescribe antihistamine tablets.

The problem: 'What else will help his eczema?'

My nine-month-old baby has eczema on his face. Our GP prescribed a low-dose steroid cream, which works. I don't want to use it every day, but as soon as I stop the eczema returns. What can you suggest?

Dr Chris says: Steroid creams are effective but they should be used sparingly and not for longer than seven days. Once you've cleared up the eczema, apply a good emollient (moisturiser) every couple of hours. Try Dermasalve - the only cream that contains no sensitisers or irritants.

Chat magazine

The problem: 'How can I get rid of my spots?'

I have terrible acne and I've tried everything from the supermarket, but nothing works! Help!

Chat's Dr Martin says: Don't give up on those supermarket remedies, they can help. Try an antibacterial skin cleanser, and a cream such as benzoyl peroxide to unblock your pores. Your GP can also offer special forms of the contraceptive Pill, or antibiotic tablets or lotions. And sunshine helps too, so there's a perfect excuse for a summer break!

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